It’s funny what you notice when you keep your eyes open. I mean, really open. Mine seem to have been opened wider than usual lately. I think Ann Voskamp’s list (see my earlier blog post on One Thousand Gifts) got me started. No, my own list is not anywhere near one thousand yet. I’m sure God’s gifts have numbered way beyond that. I just haven’t written them all down. But I’ve gotten a good start.
So here’s one thing I’ve been noticing lately: wings. First, mama wings.
On a walk last weekend, my husband, Woody, and I encountered an entire family of Canada geese. Not at all unusual around here given goose overpopulation. But these two were different—at first it only looked like two. The mama was sitting on the sidewalk in a very strange position, while the daddy was standing at the edge toward the street at high alert, with beak open, looking ready to honk and attack any potential intruders.
Then we saw them—three tiny goslings almost completely covered under the mama’s outstretched wing. Sheltered. Protected. Safe. We were so sorry we had no camera to capture that moment.
But we did get another picture: meet the mama I’ve been greeting every morning. Just outside our front door, a pair of mourning doves has built a nest in the eaves under the porch. The mama dove has been sitting faithfully for what seems like forever on that nest. Every morning I’ve peeked out and checked on her, offering a little encouragement for her seemingly infinite perseverance—you know, “You go, girl!” and things like that.
At first I thought the eggs were just taking forever. But suddenly one day I saw two little heads peeking out, and they weren’t as tiny as I’d expected them to be. I think she had been sheltering those babies with her body for quite a while after they were born. Because it seemed like no time and they were out of the nest, perched on the roof. And then they were gone! Faster even than my kids grew up and left for college—those 18 years seemed to go so fast!
These sweet mama birds protecting their babies reminded me of two things: First, all of you mamas and the myriad ways you protect your babies—and kids way beyond babies. You shelter them. You cover them. You teach them to fly. And then you actually let them do it! Wings. Yes, wings—yours and theirs.
But second, it’s His wings that are ever on my mind these days. Wings that shelter. Wings that protect. Wings that keep us safe no matter how fierce life’s storms swirling around us.
God even gave me a song to remind me of His wings at a time when I needed reminding. Do any of you know the old hymn, “Under His Wings,” by William Cushing and Ira Sankey? I could only remember part of the first verse: “Under His wings I am safely abiding, Though the night deepens and tempests are wild, Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me. He has redeemed me and I am His child.” And the chorus: “Under His wings, under His wings, Who from His love can sever? Under His wings my soul shall abide, Safely abide forever.”
I couldn’t find it in my hymnals, so I looked it up on the internet and sang along as part of this morning’s devotions. It is based on lots of scripture—Psalm 17:8 and Psalm 91:1, for starters.
So today I’m thanking God for wings. Mama-goose wings. Mourning dove wings. Your wings over your kids. And even their wings (though scary)!
But most of all, His wings. Just in case you need encouragement today about wings—your tired wings, your kids’ scary wings, or His protecting wings—try this with me (and the Psalmist): ". . . I sing in the shadow of your wings.” (Psalm 63:7)